Developer: Sygic
Price: $59.99
Version Reviewed: 7.71.1

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Experience Rating: ★★★½☆
Detail and Accuracy Rating: ★½☆☆☆
Functionality Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Update 9/24/2009: the update detailed below has been approved and is now live in the App Store. It does indeed bring most of the features below to the app. This improves the score of the app slightly, though the accuracy still suffers from outdated routing / map information.

Sygic9Mobile Maps is a well conceived and nicely designed GPS app, but not really designed for a touch screen device. The app is also not without it’s functional faults… and there are quite a few faults to deal with. Looking on the brighter side, it is apparent that there is a good base for a GPS app there, it just needs some work.

My first issue with Mobile Maps is that the routing information seems out of date. A specific example is that from where I live to get anywhere south of here, I hop on the 101 at the Octavia street on-ramp. This is a fairly new ramp, maybe 5 years old, but it’s not on the map. Instead of using the obvious close entrance, Mobile Maps routes me around and has me get on one 4 blocks away, seemingly thinking that the entrance 4 more stoplights down might be easier.

Another example. In certain instances if you want to choose a point on the map as your destination, the map starts you in the middle of Europe. It’s just a tad disconcerting that this issue made it past QA, along with a few other obvious issues. Odd sized icons, weird settings menus, menu paging controls that are miniscule and obviously meant to be used from hard buttons on other platforms doom this app to mediocrity… at best. This is again another iPhone app that wasn’t really designed to the iPhone, or any touch screen device for that matter.

Another thing that I find odd is the way the screen zooms in and out such great amounts. I find it rather difficult to keep up when you are glancing over to the screen.

Fortunately, the routing is fairly robust and multi-point routes are doable. You can’t use contacts at all in this app, and your routes can’t be saved or loaded, but they can be edited.

Update Under Review

We got word this week that an update for Mobile Maps was submitted to Apple 2 weeks ago. This update addresses some of our concerns with Mobile Maps, but not others. The features listed in the update include:

  • text-to-speech, i.e. voice guidance announcing the name of the next street or road in North America, Australia and New Zealand
  • ability to choose addresses straight from iPhone contacts and navigate to them
  • smooth fading out of the music playback before the voice instructions
  • enhanced GPS lock, now faster than ever
  • smoother position display when moving on the route
  • navigation automatically resumes after completion of phone call, without the need to tap the “Accept” button anymore

In the end, while I think Sygic have great possibilities, I think that they are still a ways off. The app needs to become more iPhone like, and fix some bugs. Hopefully the update under review will help many of those issues. We’ll be keeping an eye on it, but we can’t recommend the current version.

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Navigation, Reviews

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